Saturday Vigil instead of Sunday Mass?

Is it true that you can go to a Saturday vigil Mass (5:30pm & 7:30pm) instead of Sunday Mass?

I heard this was made possible for the people whom are missing Sunday Mass and to give them another option.

The Vigil Mass was first offered for those who could not make a Sunday Mass, but it is an option for anybody. In some parishes, it is the only way to make Sunday Mass available for everybody who needs it without requiring one priest to do three Masses on the same day every Sunday. (It is preferable that a priest do no more than two Masses in one day, although he may do more in cases of necessity.)

Going to a Vigil Mass on Saturday, however, does not relieve you of the obligation to make Sunday holy in whatever way is open to you. If the nature of your profession requires you to work, then you have to work, but otherwise the Saturday option doesn’t allow you to make your Sundays into weekdays.

PS This type of question is probably better aimed at the “Liturgy & Sacraments” forum.

Yes, you may go to the Saturday Vigil Mass rather than Sunday. This option first became available, to the best of my recollection, about 1969.

now it’s horribly abused.

No abuse there.

When the Church offers options there is no abuse in chosing one option over another.

To say so is wrong. You can have an opinion that one should only attend a Saturday Evening Mass to fulfill a Sunday Obligation only when one can not attend on Sunday but to go any further goes against what the Church actually teaches.

The option is open to everyone and, as stated, is really necessary in some parishes.

ByzCath is right.

I think it is fair, though, if Ichbinian means that the Saturday evening Masses are the most likely to have, let us say, overly-relaxed standards of solemnity in dress and action. It isn’t a rule, but Vigil Masses tend to be the sloppier ones, all other things being equal. I know, having been to enough weddings lately, that “solemnity in dress” is a widely-ignored concept, but I don’t think that makes it obsolete.

(Come to think of it, I would say that Sunday evening Masses are also treated as if the evening time is more “relaxed” with regards to dress requirements.)

This is an over-generalization. Apart from the fact that the term “abuse” is thrown around so casually in this forum, I would disagree wholeheartedly with this assertion.

In our Parish, I find the dress at our Vigil Masses to be better than Sunday morning. Apart from the clock on the wall, there is no discernible difference in the Mass with the exception of a different choir group.

It is worth pointing out that the whole notion of the Vigil stems from the ancient Jewish understanding of a “day” which begins and ends at sunset. Jews today still begin their Sabbath celebrations on Friday evening.

I’m not sure how much more “traditional” one can get when considering how and when Masses can be conducted.

If we look at the LOTH, Sunday begins the evening before. There is no Saturday Vespers. It is Sunday I evening prayer. Some people choose to attend Sunday Vigil as a reminder of the Judeo part of our heritage, in which Saturday was the Sabbath. It helps a little to know the history of our Faith. The early followers of The Way (us) would attend services in the Synagogue and then meet in each others home afterward for the breaking of the bread.
Traditionally, many of us have attended Midnight Mass for Christmas. I enjoy the Easter Vigil Mass with the Sacraments of Initiation administered to new members of our Faith Community.
As already mentioned, there are large parishes with only one priest. This was the case where I lived in WI. With over a thousand families in the parish, there were five weekend Masses to accommodate everybody.
Evening vigil Masses are helpful to members of our military reserves, enabling them to attend on the weekends when they have duty. There are nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel on call at hospitals Sunday mornings. What about those individuals working minimum wage jobs in the large department stores and fast food places we expect to be open 24/7?
The decision to extend the hours when a person can attend Mass was a pastoral decision. I do expect that when I head to the Middle East in 2 weeks, more often than not I will be attending a Saturday Vigil. The work week where I am going is Sunday through Thursday with Friday and Saturday as the weekend. Yes, it is a Muslim country.

As I wrote, “it isn’t a rule” and weekend evenings “tend” to a bit more lax as to dress, with all other things being equal (that is, at the same parish and not where the evening Mass in question is always “youth” Mass or some such thing). I meant to make it clear that it was a pretty broad generalization.

Keep in mind, too, that I can only compare Saturday Vigil Mass to Sunday in a few Oregon parishes and in one parish in California. Everywhere else, I’ve only been to all Sunday morning or all Saturday evening for any particular parish.

Again: ByzCath is right. Choosing the Saturday Vigil when attending on Sunday morning is possible is not an abuse. It is wrong to say that it is, and some parishes are not even given Sunday Mass as an option.

I don’t know a pastor who would not be perfectly pleased with a family that attended his Vigil Mass faithfully each and every Saturday night to meet their Sunday obligation. It is entirely OK. The observation of Sunday and solemn feasts traditionally begins on the preceding evening, as the LOTH makes clear. The Vigil is not a “lesser” Mass.

An oft-neglected aspect is this, though: Sunday is still Sunday, “the pre-eminent day of the liturgical assembly, the day of the Christian family, and the day of joy and rest from work” (CCC 1193), even if we fulfilled our obligation to attend Mass at a Vigil Mass. There is the whole of Sunday to keep holy, all the same, even when a certain number of professional work hours and a certain amount of domestic work is necessary. I even have sympathy with the opinion that our Sunday rest should ideally begin with Vespers on Saturday evening.

by “abused” is that people go on Saturday night all the time even though they are fully capable of going on Sunday.

The Saturday Vigil is a fully available alternative for meeting the Sunday obligation. It is not reserved for the few people who cannot go on Sunday morning. It is entirely OK to make it a habit to fulfill the Sunday obligation at the Vigil Mass.

The high point of the entire liturgical year is a Saturday Vigil Mass, after all. How could we begin to celebrate Easter itself before sunrise on Easter Sunday, if it were not fully proper to do so? Yet that is not merely* a *celebration of Easter, but the focal point of the entire celebration of Easter! If you look at the LOTH, too, the prayers for Vespers Saturday are for that Sunday, not Saturday.

As pointed out, that is not an abuse.

It is actually an abuse of the word abuse.

Which seems to occur a lot on this sub forum.

Again, the choice of one option over another option, both of which the Church allows for, is in no way an abuse.

What is important is that people are going to Mass. Options are provided to make this possible.

It may not be next week for Aug 15th, a Saturday, is a Holyday of Obligation.

Actually, the obligation for Catholics in the U.S. to attend Mass next Saturday, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption has been abrogated.

Why is this?

When holy days (other than the Immaculate Conception and Christmas) fall on a Saturday or Monday they are dispensed. (This is for the United States; I don’t know about other countries.)

From the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship source]:

Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.

The high point of the entire liturgical year is a Saturday Vigil Mass, after all.


There is no Mass on Holy Saturday! It’s the Midnight Mass of Easter Sunday!

No Mass on Good Friday, no Mass on Holy Saturday.

It’s not the ‘Midnight’ Mass, it’s the Vigil of Easter.

It should be noted that the usual Saturday evening Mass is not a Vigil Mass but an anticipated Sunday Mass. Vigil Masses (there are only 6 such during the year) have different readings and antiphons from those of the Mass of the Day. The 6 Vigils are on the eves of the feasts of Easter, Christmas, Pentecost, Ascension, Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and the Feast of Ss. Peter & Paul.

It’s not the ‘Midnight’ Mass, it’s the Vigil of Easter.

I know it’s called the Vigil of Easter. I’m pointing out that the Mass occurs at midnight (hence, SUNDAY), and, therefore, there are no Masses on Holy Saturday.

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